Food for Invalids and Convalescents



Please note: this object uses outdated and offensive language towards disabled people. ID: Two pages from a Second World War-era Ministry of Food leaflet. On the left-hand side is a list of various recipes that can be made with rations, such as milk potato soup. On the right, a page titled ‘Food for Invalids and Convalescents’ starts with the following line: “Invalids and convalescents require special attention as frequently they are finicky about their food, and what is even more important, especially after a wasting illness, they need building up.” This leaflet, part of a series, was issued by the Ministry of Food when rationing was introduced during the Second World War. It shared advice and recipes aimed to keep disabled people, and people recovering from illness, as healthy as possible. It includes simple foods that could be made from the most basic of rations and says that ‘body-building foods such as eggs, milk, cheese, fish or meat should all be included in the invalid’s diet’. Disabled people were listed as ‘priority consumers’ during the rationing period. This helped many to access slightly greater rations of milk, eggs, and cheese to make these nourishing meals. The leaflet refers to a disabled patient as ‘the invalid’. While we recognise this language as dehumanising today, at the time, it was seen as completely ordinary. The leaflet may even have been viewed as sympathetic and well-meaning towards disabled people.